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Full text of "A history of Persia"

xux         THE EARLY ABBASID PERIOD          65
Lord, he that giveth us food to eat and water to drink.'7
The Caliph, relying on his own authority to quell the
tumult, imprisoned their leaders, whereupon they stormed
the prison and nearly killed him. These fanatics, who
were called Ravandis from the town of Ravand near
Isfahan, continued to exist until the beginning of the
tenth century. They were, curiously enough, the cause
of the institution of a " sentry horse," which thence-
forward was always kept ready saddled at Court for an
emergency.
The Rebellion of the Descendants of Hasan, A.H. 144
(761).—-A much more serious danger than the rebellions
in Persia threatened Mansur when Medina and Basra
rose to support the claims of the house of Ali. The
rebellious cities were dealt with one after the other, and
ut Medina the Pretender was deserted and fell fighting.
His brother Ibrahim took possession of Basra and then
of Kufa, but he, too, fell in battle after almost winning the
day, and his army broke up and dispersed.
The Foundation of Baghdad, ^.£-.,1*45 (7^2)-—Mansur
was the founder of Baghdad^ which under his grandson
Haroun-al-Rashid was destihed to enshrine the imperish-
able memories of the romantic East as recorded in the glow-
ing pages of the Arabian Nights. In forming the new city
he had the statesmanlike design oPremoving the army
from the neighbourhood of Kufa and Basra, which were
hotbeds of intrigue ; and by reason of its position a few
miles above the ancient Madain, and the permanent
establishment of the Court within its walls, it soon
became the capital of the Empire. Cantonments were
built on the eastern bank of the river, with three separate
camps, for the Khorasan levies on which Mansur depended
and for the Yemen and Modhar tribes.
The Rising at Herat, A.H. 150 (767).—The latter years
of the reign of Mansur were comparatively peaceful.
There was a rising at Herat under Ustad or "Master
Craftsman" Sis, who declared himself a prophet, and
occupied Khorasan and Sistan until Ibn Khuzayma
defeated him with heavy slaughter. Perhaps the chief
importance of the event lies in the fact that the rebel's
VOL. n                                                              *